I’m coming Home

As my time in Bolivia comes to an end and I prepare myself to leave, I think back on the experiences I have had over the past 9 months. Sure there were times that were hard…I mean ready to pack my things and come home hard, but the majority of my time here has been truly wonderful. While here in Bolivia I was able to regain something that I had lost several years ago….community. You see the last time I had a truly enriching community was while I was on the World Race in 2012-2013. The World Race was a wonderful experience where I was able to grow in my relationship with God, and discover who I truly was as a person all while being surrounded by people who loved me and enriched my life. The year and a half I was home from the race and before I left for Bolivia I was really bitter. I felt like I had been ripped from this wonderful environment and thrown back into my old life. The problem was that I had changed so much and it seemed like everything at home had just stayed the same. I was an outsider and no matter what I did I didn’t feel like I belonged anymore. Now quick side note to people who don’t believe that because I have a great church, friends, and family, you are right but that doesn’t mean that isn’t how I felt. Sometimes while trying to cheer someone up we just invalidate their feelings. Anyways back on track I had experienced true community living and I loved it, then I had to step away from it all because of my health. I am perfectly fine and healthy now, Thank God!

Alright fast forward to arriving in Bolivia. I was excited for this new chapter in my life but I was also hurt and bitter, so needless to say I needed some work. Most people who know me well know that I am not an extrovert, it takes a while for me to warm up to people. It’s not that I don’t like people, I love them, but I am shy. So coming to a new country by myself and not really knowing anyone was going to be a struggle, which it was for a little bit. Luckily, I lived and worked on Stansberry’s property so I was constantly surrounded by people, and I had some awesome roommates. Over time I started to meet more people and I even found an English speaking church to attend, which made things easier. I started to gain back all the things I had felt I lost when I left the race. The Lord really healed my brokenness through these people and I was able to let go of the hurt and bitterness. Everything was starting to fall into place.

Eventually, I built strong relationships with the people around me, I had become part of a small group, I had a church I loved, and I had even joined a choir. Side note again for those who know me know that I have terrible stage fright and haven’t performed in years, so this was big! I had everything I wanted here in Bolivia and was so happy. Then just like that it was time to leave again….

These past 9 months have flown by and I can’t believe the time has come to leave. Unlike the race where I had to say goodbyes every month and move onto a different country and a different ministry; I had spent the last 9 months living and working with the same set of people. I built deep relationships with them and wasn’t ready to say goodbye, so I knew this time it would be much harder to leave. I have spent a lot of time grieving what I am losing by leaving Bolivia, but I am also choosing to rejoice in what the Lord has done in my life over these past 9 months and what he has before me. I have decided that this time I will not lose that sense of community I so deeply need and cherish.

So tomorrow I leave Bolivia and head back to Ohio. I am returning a changed person. I am more mature and I know what the direction and calling the Lord has for me. I also have a deeper relationship with God and am starting to understand what it means to be a daughter of The Most High. I am choosing to bring that sense of community back with me to Ohio and I am going to find a way to built that community. I’m not sure what that all looks like yet, but what I do know is there may be some tough decisions involved, but I am trusting in the Father to carry me through. Although I will only be home for 12 weeks before I head out to New Zealand I am going to make the most of my time. I want to built up a foundation and community for myself within Ohio. With this community I will be able to continue growing in my faith and I will know for sure that I have something to rely on back home. I will have people praying for me while I am gone, and people to encourage and built me up while I am home…..actually I would like that no matter where I am! I have learned that we all need community, it is essential to our health and I refuse to feel alone again!

I hate to leave my home, friends, and family here in Bolivia but I know this is where the Lord is leading me to. I’m excited for this new chapter in my life! So with all of this said watch out Ohio I’m coming back and I’m bringing changes with me!

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I Don’t Play Nice

Ok this is the last of my old blogs that I wrote while on the World Race that I was never able to post, but I feel like they need to be shared!

My entire time on the race people have been telling me stories about Africa. How dark of a place it is. How spiritual warfare is so prevalent. How I was about to step into a war zone and I needed to be prepared. I even heard people refer to it as the devil’s playground.

Well I have never been to Africa before and so I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was what I had been told by others. I have never been to war before so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was about to go from watching on the sidelines to fighting on the front lines and I was a  little nervous. Luckily, in Asia I had a lot of downtime and I used that time to prepare myself for the fight of my life.

After months of preparing myself for Africa and the war zone that awaited me when I got there I finally felt ready. Ready to tackle anything and everything Satan tried to throw at me. Ready to fight for the lives of others. Ready to own my authority in Christ. So when we landed in Africa I was ready to go out into the devil’s playground and take it away from him, because I don’t play nice.

On March 4th,2013 I met up with my parents in Kenya and headed to Kijabe to do a week of ministry with them. I was hyped up for battle and couldn’t wait to get out there. A few days of ministry go by and I see poverty, pain, and suffering, but no devil. Then a few more days go by and still there were no demon manifestations, no one was exorcised, and not much was happening. That’s when I realized that this was not the devil’s territory, it was God’s and he had claimed it a long time ago. Yes I saw hurt, suffering and poverty, but what I saw more than that was God.

During my week in Kijabe I saw hope that God would provide. I saw joy despite their circumstances, and I witnessed love beyond all measures. This place and these people had been claimed by God, because they are his children. These people are His children and they know it, and they love him. So everything I had heard from people may have been right about Africa as a whole, but as far as Kijabe and the surrounding towns that is God’s territory. His light shines in those places and I see Him in the faces of those people. So when I expected to walk in and be the light in the darkness I found that I was just one candle flickering among many.

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Parent Vision trip

This is another old blog that never got posted and I would just like to share it with you all!

At the beginning of the year I was given an interesting opportunity, which was to invite my parents to Africa to serve alongside and do missions with me. Now my squad was the first squad to have their parents at launch and now we were going to be the first to have our parents join us on the field. It was an exciting opportunity and yet a little scary. See I wanted more than anything to do missions with my parents. However, I hadn’t seen them in months and I had become a completely different person than the one that left them in July. What would they think about me? How would they respond to this new world? Would the culture that goes along with the race freak them out? All these questions ran through my mind as I tried to figure out whether to invite them or not. Finally, I decided to do the only thing I could think of….I prayed. I asked God what he wanted me to do. That’s when he told me that he had given me this opportunity because he wanted me to take advantage of that. He wanted my parents to experience a little bit of my life. He also wanted me to get to know my parents as people and learn about their lives. Well it was decided I was going to invite my parents.

Shortly after sending the invite to my parents they responded saying they wanted to come to Africa. They also said that they weren’t going to come just to see me, but that they really wanted to take advantage of this missions opportunity. See neither of them have ever left the states, but I knew they always wanted to. This trip just gave them the opportunity and I gave them the excuse to take advantage of it. I mean how could they pass up a chance to visit their only girl, haha. So it was decided that they would be joining me on the mission field for a week in Africa.

Now 2 years later my parents are once again coming to visit me on the Mission field. However, this time they will be joining me in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and I couldn’t be more excited. I love sharing my life with my parents and letting them see first hand the passion God has given me and how He is working in my life and the lives around me. This will be another great adventure for all of us and I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do during their time here!

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Sweet Baby

Two years ago I spent my birthday in Cambodia. It was a wonderful time and I loved celebrating my birthday there with people I love. Unfortunately here was a tragedy for the family that was hosting us. The baby niece died that night of a heart problem she had. That moment effected me greatly. This is a blog I wrote about that day and was never able to post on my World Race blog, because the e-mail I had attached to that blog was shut down. So I am posting it here instead!

This is a poem I wrote in remembrance of Laila. She is the niece of my ministry contact in Cambodia, Vuthy. On February 24,2013 Laila went home to be with her heavenly father, she was 3 months old.

Dear sweet baby

You lie there sleeping so peacefully and serene.
You look so beautiful and prestine.
Your mother strokes your cheek and holds you tight.
She puts you down to rest for the night.
But sadly sweet baby you will not be waking with the morning light.

For tonight you have gone to be with Jesus.
The Lord has called you home.
Although you are gone, you will always be with us.
And know that God has not left your family alone.

Just as he is holding you tightly in heaven, know that he is holding them just as tightly here on earth.
Although it has been just a little time since your birth.
We find comfort in knowing that you are no longer suffering or hurt.

Dear sweet baby this I pray
That you know you are loved more than I can say.
And I know we will meet again in heaven one day.

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Trust or something like it

I realized that I only touched base on what God has in store for me next, so I will now give you a more in depth look at what’s going on. As I mentioned in my last blog this real life Carmen Sandiego is headed to New Zealand! That’s right in September I will be attending the Inheriting Nations School, which is on the Great Barrier Island off the coast of New Zealand.

“Inheriting Nations is about the heart and the head. On one hand it’s about a deeper, personal experience of God as Father, on the other hand it’s about exploring and laying strong biblical foundations and understanding in key areas. Together this beautiful blend of experience and Biblical wisdom will naturally flow from and through us into the nations as we walk together with Him.” –James Jordan, Fatherheart Ministries

So for 12 weeks I will be on an island taking courses to help me grow deeper in my relationship with the Father and further my opportunities in future ministries. I am so excited for this opportunity to rest in the Father and learn more about my identity as a daughter of the Almighty. I know this is where God is calling me to be for the next season of my life and I can’t wait to experience all He has for me. However, there is one problem. How in the world am I going to pay for this? Between tuition, transportation, and other costs I am looking at needing to raise $9,000 to attend this school. And just in case that wasn’t a big enough feat all of the money needs to be sent to the school by July! Hold up wait what!?! God what have you gotten me into? I am still living and volunteering in Bolivia until June and I need the money by July? So I have to fund-raise while living and working in Bolivia, then come home and immediately start working, trying to set up speaking engagements, and put together fund-raisers? Oh yeah sure no big deal….this is impossible!

Then during one of my many freak outs the Lord asked me the same questions He always does. Do you trust me?

Umm well yeah I mean of course I do, don’t I? I mean after all I am a good little Christian and missionary right? Actually when I sit down and think about the logistics of all of this I cannot even fathom how it is going to be possible to raise the money. So much for this strong unwavering faith, I have no idea how this is going to work out. That’s the thing though I don’t have to know because that is what true trust and faith in the Father is, realizing I don’t have to have it all figured out because God already has a plan. Thank goodness for that, because I am freaking out! Then I think to myself, why don’t I trust God with money? Too be honest there is absolutely no real reason other than basic human flaws, because when I think about it the Lord has always fulfilled His promises to me. Every time the Father has called me to do something he has always provided exactly what I needed. He called me to go on The World Race, and provided $15,500 to do so. He called me to come to Bolivia and serve and provided $6,000 to do so. Even back at home he has provided for me either financially or by sending the right people into my life at that time. He used people to provide me with the financial, emotional and spiritual support I needed and I am choosing to believe that He will do the same thing this time. So Lord I honestly can’t promise that I won’t have any doubts about this, but I promise that I will believe you are bigger than all of it. That you will fulfill your promise to me and provide for me so that I can continue to do your work!

By now I’m sure you are thinking, where do I fit into all of this? I am glad you asked. I need help to raise this money and I am asking that you consider partnering with me both prayerfully and financially! Yes this is me unashamedly asking for money and prayers (just calling it like I see it). In all seriousness though I know that this school is where God is calling me to be and I am trusting that He is going to use people to help me. Therefore, further growing my faith and building a bigger, stronger community. Blessings always multiply, so by blessing me, I know that God will in turn bless you! So please prayerfully consider partnering with me and see what God has in store for this next season of both mine and your lives! I am trusting that the Father will do something great!

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” –Deuteronomy 31:8

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Announcement!!!

Recently I have had to deal with the fact that my time here in Bolivia will come to an end and I will have to move on to something new, I just wasn’t sure what that was. Of course being the kind of person I am, whether you call it ADHD, a dreamer or whatever, I had about a million ideas of what I wanted to do. However, I had to consider what the Father was calling me to do because honestly that’s what I need to be doing. Lord where are you going to take me next? Please let it be somewhere warm…

So I have spent the last few months diving into the Father, praying, reading the word, and reading books about the Lord. This is where I found James and Denise Jordan. They are a married couple who are both authors and they also run a ministry together called Fatherheart Ministries. I read all their book and the Father really used them to bring about serious revelation in my life about how much he truly loves me and how precious I am to Him. Well I decided to look into the Fatherheart Ministries and see if they had anything that would be a good fit for me. While I was looking I found that they have a 12 week school that intensively studies the Father’s love, how to grow in your relationship with the Father, and how to truly embrace your role as a child of God. It is called the Inheriting Nations School, which is based on Psalm 2: 7-8 “You are my son; today I have become your father, Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, then ends of the earth your possession.” As I did with going on the World Race and coming to Bolivia I immediately felt that this is where the Lord was leading me in the next step. However, just like the others I took time to sit with the Father and ask Him what He desires for me. I also sought counsel from others about this decision.

Finally about month ago I had my decision. I was going to apply to this school because this is where I felt the Lord was leading me. So I sent in my application, had an interview with them through Skype and this week I received an e-mail that I had been accepted into the school! I am so excited! There is only one little problem….I don’t have the money to go. Oh and as I have failed to mention earlier this is no regular school. You see this school takes place on the Great Barrier Island of the coast of New Zealand. The Fatherheart ministry is based in New Zealand. The reason that the school takes place on an island is to give students the opportunity to rest in the Father and really grow with Him without any distraction from the outside world. As I mentioned before it is an intense 12 week school. The school runs from September 12th to December 4th, 2015.

Now down to the details the tuition for school is $5,400, the plane ticket will be around $2,000 roundtrip, the ferry ride to the island will cost about $210, plus additional cost which haven’t been figured out quite yet. So I am looking to raise around $8,000 to attend this school in September. I know that this is where the Lord has called me to go and that He is asking me to step into a season of resting in Him. I just pray that you will prayerfully consider supporting me on this next step in my journey as I truly believe that it will help me to grow stronger in my faith. I also believe that this school and time with the Father will sharpen my skills and help me in my career in ministry. I am fully funded here in Bolivia so I am turning my fund raising efforts over to raising tuition money. All of the money needs to be in by mid-July to mid-August, so I am wholly trusting that the Lord will provide. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me through everything whether financially or through Prayer, I cannot express how grateful I am for each and every one of you!!

 

P.S. Since the school starts in September I will be coming home in June to work, speak in churches, and fundraise until I leave! Also if you want to learn more about the school check out the website www.inheritingnation.com

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I got fired…

I know I haven’t given an update recently on what I have been doing here in Bolivia, but really in my opinion there wasn’t really anything new to tell. We were working the same schedule as before giving the Parents their days and weekends off, which was every Wednesday, Thursday, and then three weekends a month.

Then on the last weekend in January/first weekend in February we had the weekend off, so we decided to go on a 4 day trip to a tourist town called Samaipata. It is about three hours away from where I live. We went to waterfalls, Incan ruins, and just enjoyed being tourists and having free time. Anyways when we returned from our trip we had our monthly meeting with our boss, Julie, and she told us that they had hired someone on full-time to take on the responsibility of watching the houses when the parents have their days off. This is great because it gives the kids more stability knowing who is going to be watching their house and when, but of course we couldn’t help making jokes that we got fired. However, that was a real question…what the heck are we supposed to do now if we won’t be with the kids?

So for the past month Kristen and I have been doing some work on the houses, sanding and painting the rooms for the kids. We have also been doing the laundry for all three of the houses and all seven of the daycare classes, which in case you are wondering is a ton of dirty clothes. I have enjoyed this time a lot. I have been able to relax a little between loads of laundry and read, which is one of my favorite things to do. Although I do miss being around the kids I think it has been nice to take a break and do something different here at Stansberry. It has also given me time to sit with the Father and figure out what he wants the next step of my journey to be….

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